Sunday, July 4, 2010

Awesome List

Writing gets really hard when you have absolutely nothing to release or vent about or wave a picket sign at. Attempting to do so may even be a total waste of everyone else's time. On the other hand, I'm bored on a Sunday afternoon, so will now proceed to waste everyone's time with a list of things that I find awesome...No, that ARE INDEED awesome (in no particular order). I will continue until I have something better to do. This could get brutally boring, and could also be a serious cry for help in the realm of my social life.

1. Squeaky cheese - The Gossner's plant in Logan, Utah holds countless memories for me. A visit to Grandpa's farm during my childhood always meant stopping at Gossner's for a case of flavored milk and a bag of squeaky cheese (it's actually cheese curd, but it's awesome 'cause it squeaks, see). I just went back to visit this weekend and had no choice but to buy some. Memories in every bite! Also, squeaks.

2. Fireworks - Logically those also happened this weekend. Nothing says "America is awesome" like giant colorful explosions. And lots of meat.

3. Spooning - Actually cuddling in any form is a default awesome list maker. I don't think I really need to defend this one at all.

4. Sharks - I think I mention this one in my "About Me" section. Let me expound: they're just real big. And they're sharks. They can just go ahead and eat you in two seconds if they feel like it. And sometimes I swim with them just for fun, which I think earns me at least two points towards making the awesome list (minimum points requirement is still TBD)

5. Scooters - I just saw this word at the bottom of my page under "Labels for this post." It uses scooters as an example, which is awesome, because scooters are awesome. I got my incredibly unsafe and badly-built Razor scooter for my 15th birthday and still use it today (though no longer to get from A to B. Seriously, I have some degree of adult self respect). It has only almost killed me twice and has given a whirlwind first impression of me to others on countless occasions.

6. New shoes - Shoe sale signs should actually read "Self-esteem sale," and if I were a therapist I would tell every disheartened woman who met with me to first go buy the sexiest pair of shoes she could find before we proceeded further. And also get a sassy haircut. The result of these is often a miraculously fresh dose of "I can do anything"-ness, and the two together might completely eliminate the need for therapy. Which would put me out of business. So I guess if I were a therapist I wouldn't do that at all.

7. Trees - I should probably just write a post sometime exclusively about trees and why I love them so much. Besides the obvious eco-friendly save-the-earth mumbo-jumbo, they're just awesome. Sometimes trees give me mushy juice-down-your-arm peaches, which are kind of like eating heaven, and sometimes they give me coconuts, which are kind of like eating tropical island paradise, and sometimes trees are banyan trees, and then I climb them and love my life a lot.

8. Kites - The only time I don't like trees is when I'm flying a kite. Kites are cool because they can go higher than you ever could unless you're a freak that can jump real high. Furthermore there's something therapeutic about letting them get swept away in a light breeze, sailing higher and higher until the $3 anime character face on front shrinks to a speck. It's best to fly a kite somewhere serene and quiet, so all you hear is the flap-flap-flap of the sky tails (truly the official your kite instructions) from a cool spot of grass.

9. Tea - With a little bit of honey, there is nothing more soothing and soul-warming than a good, steamy cup on a bitter cold day. It may be the only thing I enjoy about winter.

10. Heights - I used to be scared of them, but then I realized the thrill of going on really epic hikes and also of jumping off stuff. I don't think birds realize how good they have it. I bet if we just gave them one day to trade places with us they would sit around in their walled apartments all day, wingless and bored and stuck on the ground with nothing to entertain them but blog writing, and spend the rest of their lives appreciating their daily picturesque views of the world, their harmony with nature, and their ability to

I just found something to do. Good timing, because I would hate to have ended on an 11.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Sometimes in life, tragedy strikes. Other times it's overwhelmingly and indescribably beautiful. And what I've learned again and again is that often it's only through our tragedies and losses that the greatest of life's beauties are able to make themselves manifest.

My life recently met with a tragedy (or was it?) when love was lost and the pain of the reality of separation stung in my throat for a sleepless night or two. Yet calling it a tragedy would mean ignoring a beautiful element of this story. Simultaneous with this experience was an overwhelming outpouring of one of the most beautiful things on this planet: friendship.

Cheesy? Most definitely. So are tea parties and picnics and rolling down giant hills. But I'm not sorry. Such daily acts of childishness with various friends are quickly making this summer one of my life's most memorable.

It's not even that I'm popular. I truly believe that God points his finger down at us during our lower points and says, "That one's going to need some people to plan Bollywood movie parties for." Maybe that one's just me... but you get the idea. And the people appear out of places and times you forgot even existed, and beauty is born of tragedy. It's a pattern I recognize in my life every time I begin to feel sorry for myself. It gives me perspective in what seem like should be the most perspective-less of moments. My deepest thanks to those who are helping me mold this outlook.

OK, but really... who wants to come to Bollywood night?

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I went running the other day and watched the sun set from a secluded hill in the mountains that overlooked the ocean. The pinks, oranges and purples bounced down from the sky and reflected in the still water. Birds sang overhead while the trees danced in unison.

Now I'm back home for the summer, in my native Utah. On a bikeride today I passed a bunny rabbit, sharing a green pasture with a small herd of cows and some sand cranes. All stood lazily in the sun, nibbling on grass and dandelions as the majestic snow-capped mountains towered above us all.

Nature is a wonder I can never wrap my head around. Everything works together to form something so complete -- from the tiniest bug to the tallest mountain -- that its majesty is impossible for any human language to do justice. I've seen some of the many wonders it has to offer. I hope to see many more. But one thing nature has taught me is this: I am only an insignificant speck.

I've learned that if I do nothing, the sun will still rise in the mornings and set in the evenings. The turtles, fish, whales and sharks will still form an entirely different, breathtaking world underwater. Lilacs and plumerias will still smell sweeter than anything else I know. Snow-capped mountains will stand their ground and giant trees will continue to sprout from seeds the size of a grain of sand. And I, the speck, can choose to sit it out in waves of self-pity or choose to be a part of it -- a contributor to the beauty that is everywhere. Because the other thing I've learned is that the most beautiful of nature's gifts are not found in the heart of a distant jungle. They are all around us. They are in a baby's innocent eyes; in a giant hug or shoulder to cry on, in a child's laugh, in a moment of inspiration, in a beautiful song or story. The beauty is in knowing that maybe you helped someone the way God would have. It's in improving a life, even if for a moment in the smallest way. It's in expressing gratitude when it's deserved, and in giving love even when it's not. It's in doing the things we do best in a way that will benefit another. It's in sharing a smile with someone even when we don't feel like it, because maybe that someone needed it more.

Being a part of the beauty isn't always easy. Sometimes in giving of ourselves we get disappointed, discouraged, disheartened. But stepping away from it and dwelling on pain and regret only makes a person more of an insignificant speck than he was before.

Nature is beckoning us to be part of its perfect flow and rhythm by giving of ourselves. Not doing so won't make the sunset less vivid, but making an effort could prove more beautiful than the most orange of evenings atop a tree-laden hill.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Today is Friday. Fridays are overrated. I am frying in my living room like a smelly lobster in a pot, except lobsters don't have ears. Lucky lobsters.

My double ear infection has kept me in the house all week. Never jump into dirty rat-pee waterfalls after an ear irrigation, then try to learn boogie-boarding in an angry ocean right after. Nature and my own stupidity have forced me to wear cotton balls in both ears for days. Like a stuffed lobster.

The thing about Fridays is this: anything worth doing should be done as soon as you feel like it. That's how I feel. That's why I don't wait for Fridays. The problem: by the time Friday rolls around everything worth doing is already done. Yet every week I look forward to Friday. And every week I'm disappointed. Last Friday I deep-cleaned my house -- buttery microwave, moldy bathtub, offensive fridge. I also did laundry, which I hate even worse than discovering three-month old leftovers. Friday makes me a masochist.

Not that it's Friday's fault I get excited. Friday didn't ask to be a novelty, to be put on a pedestal like that. It just happened to be at the tail end of school and work weeks, which for some reason made it special, which for some reason makes us anticipate it for six days a week then wonder why we did that when it comes around again.

I liked Tuesday, when I got a free meatball sandwich for being at work at the right time, or Wednesday, when I made friends with a Korean girl in my class and afterwards we talked about our goals over mango smoothies. Monday was a backyard bonfire and Reese's cup s'mores, then staying up with sympathetic friends as I cried over ear pain. Sunday was watching God work through another person, giving her strength and words to say what we all needed to hear. Thursday was a looong, delicious nap after curling up with my new favorite book. (Baby No-Eyes, Patricia Grace. Brilliant.) Saturday was the fateful hike that ended in an ear infection, but that was worth it because I met fantastic new friends. Also I was in the jungle: my favorite! Now here I am at Friday again, sweaty and full of cotton.

Here's to anticipating the other days.
And to not being a stuffed lobster next week.

Friday, May 14, 2010


After being half-deaf for some time now, I made an appointment at the campus health center yesterday as an alternative to learning ASL. It was a relatively painless process -- kind of an awesome sensation, really -- a syringe that sprays water into my ear and lets nasty brown chunks of wax out into a kidney-shaped tray waiting below. The experience, however, brought me back to a day a little over a year ago that involved a dear friend. It is with her permission that I share this story. Actually... she has no idea.

Rachel -- then Sister Richards -- was my LDS mission companion. It's a rare privilege to get to serve in the same mission as your best friend. Even rarer and more privilege-y is when she gets to be your companion. We lived together in a small, quaint Lithuanian town called Siauliai when one morning Rachel woke up without her hearing. A regular part of a missionary day is talking to people, and my friend was getting frustrated as she found herself approaching strangers, not being able to hear them, then having them walk away in confusion when she couldn't communicate with them. Finally we decided it was time to take medical action.

Lithuanian hospitals are very... Soviet. What many have found is that if you don't need antibiotics when you go in, you will most certainly need them when you come out. Instruments are rusty. Doctors don't have fancy light-up tools to look in your mouth but rather duct-taped flashlights to hats on their heads. Dark, moldy, paint-chipped walls surround rooms with squeaky beds and dirty windows. People don't smile, and who can blame them? It was thus with much trepidation that we -- and especially Rachel -- stepped into the Siauliai hospital waiting room.

A dirty old poster hung on the wall and dust covered the painted floor when we walked in. Rachel got more fidgety as we sat and waited our turn to learn our fate and destination. "3rd floor, Wing C," said the pink-haired woman behind the counter when we told her our problem. To get to 3rd floor, Wing C one must walk down a long, very dark underground hallway. It is painted green. There are metal doors leading to other wings as you make your way through the "cave," as we called it, labeled "radiology," "dermatology," and "podiatry." I swear I saw an especially large grey door labeled "morgue."

When we made our way to the "eye, nose and ears" department on 3rd floor, Wing C, Rachel was pale. Her eyes gave away the fear that she would walk away from Siauliai hospital as a female version of Van Gogh (an irrational fear: Rachel's a terrible artist). We sat outside the door, waiting for our turn to enter the mysterious "eye, nose and ears" office. Finally we were let out of the green, dirty flourescent-lit hallway into a bright, fresh, well-lit office. Two cheerful women in clean white coats greeted us, looked into Rachel's ears with an instrument my family doctor in America would use, and chatted with us as they worked. Then one of them used a shiny, legitimate-looking instrument to remove a big ball of wax from Rachel's ear. No one got deadly infections. No one lost any limbs. Nothing in the room was rusty or even smelled weird. The sun gleamed through the big windows. It was incredibly anticlimactic... just like this blog entry. The end.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I haven't been running in several days, so on Tuesday I pull on my shorts, slip on my brown running shoes (they used to be green) and a t-shirt, and step out into the hottest, muggiest day little Laie's seen in weeks.

Down the road, past the empty rugby field and the Laotian farms, there's a muddy trail that snakes up into the jungle. Other people can have their beach on sunny days. I like the ocean too, but up here... this is the paradise I will remember long after I've left Hawaii.

Jumpy creatures -- probably frogs -- get startled as I run by and create brown clouds in the giant puddles keeping them cool. I cross a few barbed wire fences and keep running: up, up, right, left, two steps breathe in, one step breathe out.

Eventually the trail goes over a dry stream bed that winds deeper into the jungle. It's too enticing to pass up. A run is not a run unless I've veered off the trail somewhere, attempted to catch some unsuspecting creature, or at least climbed a tree (banyans are my favorite). The rocks here are slippery, so I hoist myself out of the stream bed and wander into the jungle. Tall weeds and fallen branches immediately attack me, and my legs begin to look like that time at 13 when I realized I was allergic to penicillin. But I keep going. The jungle is peaceful but full of life, and it beckons me deeper and deeper. The trail, the jumpy mud puddles, and Laie feel like worlds away, and now comes my favorite part. I climb atop a boulder and listen.

I hardly notice the beads of sweat running down my shoulders and back or the mosquitoes savoring my wet, smelly ankles. I just stand there on my mossy boulder, inhaling the delicious smell of green and listening to the surrounding song of the jungle. An angry finch sits on a nearby branch and threatens me in the only way he knows how: his tiny orange beak squawks and bounces up and down while his throat and small body vibrate rapidly. Other birds, ignoring me, sing to no one as they fly overhead. There is no sky here; only the soft leaves of the jungle pine can be seen above me, getting teased by the gentle wind. I listen in wonder. The music of the jungle is a music no symphony could do justice. It's the most beautiful, quiet cacophony I know of. It reminds me that, even way up here, I'm not alone.

The jungle screams at me, sings to me in this manner until I let gravity carry me back down the trail and on to homework, neighbors and facebook pages. In the meantime I listen from my boulder... and rather enjoy the company.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pondering what I am doing here...

I don't really know why I'm here. But I do this thing where I justify my actions if I've thought about them for a really long time. I have way too many pairs of shoes because of this, and recently justified the purchase of a pretty Leolani ukulele because I thought of nothing else for an entire week straight. For about a month now I've been having this conversation with myself:

Me: "You should start a blog."
Me: "But I don't really want to. And it would probably be really boring."
Me: "You know you kind of want to."
Me: "No I don't."
Me: "Yes you do."
Me: "But...why?"
Me: "I don't really know. Probably because you have nothing else to do right now. But if you start one I'll buy ice cream. Chocolate fudge brownie."
Me: "Are you bribing me?"
Me: "Yes."
Me: "I'll think about it."

Combination of bribing myself and doing the thing where I thought about it way too hard have brought me this unfamiliar domain they call Blogspot. Permission granted to all my loved ones and strangers to never, ever read this. I predict one of two things happening: a) a boring cyber word-mess; or b) I'll do the other thing I usually do where I get distracted by something else and forget this little endeavor altogether.

Hm. I think that's enough first-blog-attempt blab for one night. But more blog-o-liciousness to come!...If I can talk myself into it.